If there’s one thing gym bros who lift keep hearing about it’s mobility exercises. But, what the hell are they and why should we even care?
The closest we’ve ever got to a yoga class is checking out the how mamas on our rest between sets, and we’re doing fine dude. We’ve been growing these puppies on the iron diet for years.
However, more and more legit evidence is pointing towards mobility being our answer to better results. Not just in our day to day living, but in the weight room too
Mobility exercises might not look as cool as hammer curling the big guns. In fact, they can sometimes look damn strange to the uneducated dude. So, a lot of dudes dismiss their worth and throw them in the trash along like a sweaty old ThighMaster.
If this sounds like you, then listen in, bro! Your jacked up knees, back and sub-par shoulder press will thank you for it.
Why might we need mobility exercises?
- Reduce post-workout pain
- Fix reduced range of motion
- Prepare our bodies for training
- Get rid of tightness
- Reduce the risk of injury
We workout hard. Like, probably a lot harder than you, your biggest buddy or a whole squadron of Navy SEALs. So, we know what it’s like to feel pain, tightness and reduced range of motion in our bodies. It’s just part of the game.
Eventually these small inconveniences turn into big problems. You know what we’re talking about, right? Suddenly that slight twinge you usually feel when jumping out of the truck turns you into a fixed piece of 2×4. Dang, two more weeks back on the sofa with Real Housewives.
This can be avoided by throwing a healthy dose of mobility training into the mix. Even those Navy SEAL’s who aren’t nearly as tough as we are advocates of it. Employing essential drills into their training to maximize recovery and reduce chance of injury.
Essentially, if you train hard and push your body compromising positions, you need to address your mobility. Not only will it keep you in the gym for longer, but it’ll help boost your lifts and make day to day life pain free.
How Mobility Exercises Work
Mobility exercises stimulate the muscles, tendons and nervous system – priming them ready for action. This could be by performing air squats before warming up for a power lift, or a lat hang before smashing out pull ups.
The idea essential idea is to make the area you will be working looser. Reducing the natural fight your body will give you when trying to manouvre.
Imagine muscles, tendons and ligaments as children’s play putty. If you were to place the putty in the freezer overnight and try to stretch it first thing in the morning, what would happen?
Yep, it’d surely break. Just like a tight, cold and immobile muscle will injure if it isn’t ready for what you’re asking it to do. Now, imagine that putty had been left out on the counter on a summers day. It’ll be pliable, gooey and super stretchy. That’s a workable muscle right there.
Another key component of mobility exercise is to encourage the release of synovial fluid in the joint. Sometimes called synovia, this viscous fluid reduces friction between the articular cartilage when we move.
At rest, the fluid is almost solid. So, by using mobility exercises we can warm up the good stuff and like our muscles, make it pliable.
Loosen up for bigger lifts
If you haven’t already gotten where we’re going yet, we’re fully behind this mobility stuff. Why? Well, it’s one sure fire way to becoming bigger, better and stronger.
It’s the answer to stopping you feeling like a stiff piece of sh*t in the iron house. Something that’s seriously holds dudes back from setting new PR’s and pushing their muscles to new limits.
Let’s take a look at our old enemy, reduced range of motion (RROM). A common by product of excessive training, especially using loads as heavy as ours. Performing lifts using a RROM almost immediately puts a halt to unlocking the movements complete potential.
Science says that using a full range of motion is best for getting swole. Simply put, the more a muscle can move the more metabolic stress it can experience. There’s a reason the hottest chicks go ass to grass you know.
Plus, according to a study published by The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, heavier weight shouldn’t be added at the cost RROM. Boom.
If all that wasn’t enough to get your ass on Amazon and add fifty foam-rollers to your basket, there’s more.
By increasing your ROM through mobility exercises you spread the stress of lifting over more surface area. This’ll stop your joints being constantly grinding against each other in the same spot.
Move Free In Three
The beauty of mobility exercises is anybody can jump in and most don’t require specialist equipment. Plus, you don’t have to do a full two hour hip activation routine to start feeling the benefits.
Time is money baby, and we’re hustlin’ putting cash in the muscle bank. Your planned workout should influence the mobility movements you choose to do, so keep things relative.
Consistency is key my jacked up friend, so five minutes of mobility every day is better than one hour on a weekend. By keeping things relative, you’ll be more inclined to actually do them.
Here’s three simple movement patterns you can already start doing today. Throw away your pathetic excuse for a warm up bro, that ten minute treadmill walking sh*t ain’t fooling anybody without any mobility in the mix. It’s as useful as tits on a nun.
Now, let’s turn you from a stiff turd into a flexible tree trunk ripping gorilla.
When lifting heavy loads or trying to build a big back it’s essential we can engage our lats. If they’re too tight and cannot be called upon, they’ll ultimately struggle to grow.
The lat hang can help to stretch out and loosen the upper back. Also, by improving the ROM in your shoulders you’ll be able to better handle overhead presses. Something that’ll ultimately stop you relying on your lower back.
How to do it:
- Place an aerobic step, bench or box slightly in front of the bar. You’ll rest your feet on this.
- Grab a-hold of the bar and then place your feet on the box.
- Sit back slightly, flexing the hip until your arms and body are hanging at 90 degrees to the ground.
- Hold for five complete breaths
Repeat the whole process four to five times.
Supine Bridge Reach
A lot of dudes have hips tighter than Scrooge’s fist at Christmas. This is down to a lot of us sitting around all day due to our lifestyle, work or lazy ass choices.
So, when we head into the gym it’s easy to feel like our hips are a rusty old mousetrap spring loaded to the closed position. That’s why we should really focus on freeing the joint and work on our mobility in that area.
Because we sit around on them all day it’s easy to take our glutes for granted. It’s a crying shame, bro! These are some super powerful turbo-charged babies we’ve got going on the back end. Let’s fire them up with a supine bridge reach!
How to do it:
- Lay in the supine position with feet flat on the floor and knees bent.
- Push up into the glute bridge position.
- Take your hand and reach as far as possible over your head to the opposite corner of the room.
- Return to the lying position under control and repeat on the other side.
Breathe deeply and repeat the whole process four to five times.
There’s more bros with stiff lower backs out there in the weight room than there are Instagram posers with snap backs.
This is typically down to years of bad warm ups, non-existent cool downs and ego devils. You know, that little voice whispering in our ear to throw around weights we’ve not always earned.
That’s why bros need to embrace the scorpion stretch into their lives. Not only is it named after a cool AF venomous bad boy, but it’s one of the go-to tools for fixing bad backs.
How to do it:
- Lay flat in the prone position with arms help out in line with the shoulders.
- Pick up a leg, cross it over the back of the other, then place it on the floor.
- Breathe and feel the stretch for a moment.
- Return to the start position and repeat on the opposite side.
Channel your inner assassin for four to five repetitions on each side.
If you’re serious about your training you should know how to treat your body. Why dedicate so much time to eating clean, getting great sleep and training hard if you’re still selling yourself short?
Add mobility exercises into your current program and you’ll begin to see the results in no time.
Remember, just like with muscle gains, the key is consistency – so a simple short daily routine should do the trick.
If in doubt, head to the net. Mobility is a hot topic right now and many of the best athletes and trainers are sharing their knowledge happily with the online world.
Finally, if anyone gives you shit for doing mobility in the gym floor, whoop their ass with your new found ROM. Tell ’em what’s good enough for the badass SEAL’s is good enough for you.